Driving Under the Influence

BASIC DUI PENALTIES

The penalties on even basic first-offense DUI cases are severe. The law provides for possible incarceration of up to 6 months in the county jail, a fine of $390-1,000 plus penalty assessments and court costs, impoundment of the vehicle used for up to 6 months, installation of an ignition interlock device on the vehicle for up to 3 years, a driver‘s license suspension, and completion of an alcohol education program. The penalty assessments and court costs approximately quadruple the base fine, so that the totals generally range between $1,475 and $1,850. The length of the alcohol education program varies according to blood alcohol level.

Under the new law, there are two possible driver‘s license suspensions. A 4-month suspension can result from the DMV‘s own internal APS procedure, separate and apart from any action as a result of what happens in court. If the person is convicted of a DUI offense in court, then the DMV imposes a second 6-month suspension. The two suspensions do not necessarily run at the same time. In our experience, most drivers who do not have an experienced DUI attorney suffer a longer total period of suspension than is legally necessary.

For second DUI offenses occurring within 10 years of a prior offense resulting in a DUI conviction, there is a legal minimum of 96 hours and a maximum of up to 1 year in the county jail. Many jurisdictions now attempt to impose minimums of 60-120 days in jail on second offenses. This is in addition to the fines, vehicle impoundment, ignition interlock device, and alcohol education program. There is a driver‘s license suspension of 2 years or longer, the actual length dependent on how the driver handles the matter. In our experience, most drivers who do not have an experienced DUI lawyer suffer a longer suspension than is legally necessary.

On third DUI offenses, occurring within 10 years of the commission of 2 prior DUI offenses resulting in DUI convictions, there is a legal minimum of 120 days in jail. Many jurisdictions now attempt to impose minimums of 6 months or more in jail. This is in addition to the fines, vehicle impoundment, ignition interlock device, and alcohol education program. There is a driver‘s license revocation of 3 years or longer, the actual length of which depending on how the driver handles the matter. In our experience, most drivers who do not have an experienced DUI lawyer suffer a longer suspension than is legally necessary.

On fourth DUI offenses, occurring within 10 years of the commission of 3 prior DUI offenses resulting in DUI convictions, the offense is a "wobbler". This means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor, carrying up to 1 year in county jail, or a felony, carrying up to 3 years in state prison. Most jurisdictions charge the offenses as felonies, and seek state prison sentences. This is in addition to the fines, license revocation, etc.

DUI offenses occurring within 10 years of a prior felony DUI offense in any form, can also be charged as felonies, and typically are in most jurisdictions. In addition, any DUI offense in which someone is injured can be charged as a felony, and often are in most jurisdictions. See DUI WITH INJURY, below.

Do you need the services of an exceptional California criminal dui lawyer in Southern California including Los Angeles and Orange County? The dui lawyer in our Orange County office has extensive experience in criminal law as both a high profile prosecutor and public defender. Attorney Mike Brewer can help. Contact us for more information.